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DH can look like...

  • the University of Michigan’s team work on increasing digital access to Islamic manuscripts, where scholars have digitized texts' pages and commenters can add scholarly transcriptions and annotations to help others understand these texts.
  • coding a WordPress plugin that translates blogs into Braille. I was on a team of DHers led by Tina Herzberg, George Williams, and Jen Guiliano, who realized that so much DH thinking is shared on WordPress blogs, and that creating some code that made blog writing simple to convert into Braille output could help in making the digital humanities more open.
  • a project that explored digital ways choreographers could notate and preserve historical dance performances (team included Doug Reside and Elisabeth Kvernen).
  • archaeological work excavating old buildings and recreating these lost locations as virtual 3D spaces (Nicolo' Dell'Unto) or recreating lost urban spaces such as the Soweto township under apartheid regimes (team led by Angel David Nieves).
  • an event like the THATCamp unconferences, which started at George Mason University’s DH center (RRCHNM) and now take place around the world. These are events that try to bring DHers together to talk and build in less hierarchical ways than traditional humanities conferences do.
  • a bot, such as Caleb McDaniel’s @Every3Minutes Twitter bot, which uses social media to hammer in the crushing regularity with which enslaved people were sold in antebellum America.
  • a tool for doing DH work, like the Center for History and New Media's work developing the Omeka platform for online museum and archival collections. Note that making Omeka is itself DH work: the scholarship that consisted of thinking through, designing, and building Omeka (research assistant professor and Omeka developer Patrick Murray-John discusses this work in this Journal of DH piece.)
  • using a script or a program to analyze text and discover who most likely authored it, and then publishing about your research (digitally or not). The 1962 Mosteller and Wallace analyses that went into determining the disputed authorship of the Federalist Papers were computer-based. (If this approach interests you, see the free online Blackwell Companion to DH and its chapter on stylistic analysis by Hugh Craig.)
  • DH can look at huge historical events, or it can look at large events alongside the every day, as with projects in the Black Press Research Collective (a team project founded and directed by Kim Gallon). The Collective includes work includes mapping and visualizing the historical availability of black newspapers, so that we don’t only know what was being written, but can also conjecture on who had access to reading that writing. For example, Matthew Delmont’s Black Quotidian captures moments of everyday black life from the past via historical newspapers.
  • ...meta-work around the digital humanities field, as with Transform DH’s work toward a more diverse and inclusive DH. TransformDH is a decentralized network that includes work by Moya Bailey, Fiona Barnett, Anne Cong-Huyen, Alexis Lothian, and Amanda Phillips among others.
  • ...the design of a platform like Mukurtu, which is a CMS (website platform) like Drupal or Omeka, but is explicitly built to ethically support indigenous communities in managing their cultural heritage. Mukurtu was started by members of the Warumungu community, Kim Christen Withey, and Craig Dietrich.
  • Maybe you use traditional non-digital methods to do and print your humanities scholarship (as much as this Microsoft Word-loving field can be non-digital), but you're plugged into DH Twitter and find out about the latest projects, new blogged thinking, and future collaborators by being part of a digital community (for what it's worth, that seems to me to mean that you're doing some of your scholarship digitally). DH can mean that you actively use digital means to take part in your intellectual community.

DH can look like many kinds of methods and/or publication forms, and those methods should be inclusive of all kinds of critical thinking and contributions to shared knowledge—things that don't always get credited as scholarship but should be, like coding, teaching, cleaning your data, building bibliographies, and documentation of how to use a humanities tool.